Wifredo Lam - Latin America New York Wednesday, May 24, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Bogota
    Galerie Lelong, Paris
    Private Collection, Paris
    Private Collection, Italy

  • Exhibited

    San Juan, Arsenal de la Puntilla, Wifredo Lam, obras desde 1938 hasta 1975, de regreso al Caribe, 1992

  • Literature

    Lou Laurin-Lam, Wifredo Lam - Catalogue Raisonné of the Painted Work, Vol. 1 1923 - 1960, 2006, p. 332, No. 43.15 (illustrated in black and white)

    We are grateful to Eskil Lam for his kind assistance in cataloguing this work.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Wifredo Lam’s contributions to modern painting were no doubt pivotal. He expanded both the parameters of Surrealism and Cubism by imbuing his work with a unique Afro-Cuban vocabulary infused with Santería. Early in his career while studying in Spain, Lam met Pablo Picasso, who would become his mentor and one of his great supporters. The subtle luminosity of the painting illustrated here embodies one of Lam’s iconic leitmotifs: the metamorphosed figure of the femme-cheval, a hybrid creature—both woman and horse—possessed by a spiritual divinity. The elegant posture and stylized manner point to Lam’s inventiveness, building upon what he learned in the avant-garde circles in Paris before returning to Cuba where he would change the artistic landscape forever.

    When Lam painted Untitled (circa 1943), he was at the height of his career, producing some of his most important works, including his masterpiece, The Jungle (1943), purchased by the Museum of Modern Art, New York soon after its creation. During this time, Lam was also involved with André Breton’s Surrealist scene in New York, leading to his participation in the important group exhibition First Papers of Surrealism, organized in 1942 by Breton and Marcel Duchamp. This exhibition resulted in Lam’s first solo show at the renowned Pierre Matisse Gallery. Internationally lauded during his lifetime, Lam’s pivotal importance has recently been re-acknowledged with blockbuster retrospectives at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Centro de Arte Reina Sofa in Madrid, and the Tate Modern in London from 2015 to 2016.

  • Artist Biography

    Wifredo Lam

    Cuban • 1902 - 1982

    Wifredo Lam was born in Sagua la Grande, Cuba and was of mixed Chinese, European, Indian and African descent. He studied under Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor, curator for the Museo del Prado and teacher of Salvador Dalí.

    While studying in Spain, he met Pablo Picasso, who would become his mentor and friend as well as one of his great supporters, introducing him to the intelligentsia of the time. Lam significantly contributed to modernism during his prolific career as painter, printmaker, sculptor and ceramist. His works explored Cubism and expanded the inventive parameters of Surrealism while negotiating figuration and abstraction with a unique blend of Afro-Cuban and Surrealist iconography. His iconic visual language incorporated syncretic and fantastical objects and combined human-animal figures fused with lush vegetation.

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signed "Wi Lam" on the reverse
gouache on paper mounted on board
41 3/4 x 32 7/8 in. (106 x 83.5 cm)
Painted circa 1943.

$300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for $322,000

Contact Specialist
Kaeli Deane
Head of Sale, Latin American Art
New York
+1 212 940 1352

Latin America

New York Auction 24 May 2017